From ag to agvocates: Being a courageous producer
A survey by Nebraska Public Media states when rural Americans need health care, nearly 25% of them can’t receive it due to hospital distance. This statistic makes living in rural areas seem risky, but one group of rural residents, ranchers, have taken this risky lifestyle to extremes. I grew up ranching, and I can’t begin listing all the times I have seen my dad do tasks like climb up a 20-foot-high windmill tower or chase bulls around a bumpy pasture. My dad and other ranchers in my community are the most courageous people I know.
However, this courage dissipates when ranchers’ livelihoods are scrutinized. Climate change and fake meat are pressing issues that need to be addressed, but I don’t see ranchers chasing down rumors like they are bulls or climbing 20 feet up to fill the role of an advocate.
In a recent The Fence Post magazine, there was an article called “Cowgirls Over Coffee: Connecting rural women.” Cowgirls Over Coffee works to create community among rural women seeking brave conversations and authentic connections. I love that these women have chosen to be courageous in sharing their stories with each other and on social media. When these women share their stories, they are sharing the truth about their lives and the rural lifestyle.
As ranchers, the best thing we can do for our industry is to follow Cowgirls Over Coffee’s footsteps. We know cows aren’t bad for the environment, meat is the best protein source, and ranching is sustainable, but we need to share with others! When ranchers courageously share their experiences, they are sustaining their way of life as well as the landscape they call home. I challenge ranchers like my dad to summon their courage and climb the tower of becoming an advocate for the industry they call theirs.
By Sheridan Wilson, Lemoyne, Neb.
Teach wolves to be vegetarians
I found Monday’s Oct. 25 The Fence Post magazine article titled “Why a partnership between a Colo., rancher and a wolf advocate couldn’t last” hilariously funny and extremely angering. My husband and I were born in, and farm raised in Colorado. We raised all our children on the farm and continue to live on the farm and raise cattle.
The article angered me because of the continued battle that Don Gittleson will have to fight to keep his herd safe from the wolves. We have allowed these so-called “animal advocates” to come into our state and force us to adapt to their ideologies. He will never be compensated for the actual cost of the animal, and it will be a continuous battle against the governmental bureaucracy to keep the wolves off his property.
The hilarious part of this article is that Karin Vardaman believes that cows can be trained to huddle up and guard themselves and their calves against the wolf pack. All I could do was shake my head as I continued to read how she will work with the ranchers to teach the cows how to protect themselves.
This article reminds me of a telephone conversation I heard on the radio a few years ago. The DJ couldn’t resist replaying the conversation for the audience. The radio discussion was about the number of deer that were being hit by cars on a certain section of a highway. The woman said she couldn’t understand why the deer were crossing the road at that section of highway. She said if they would just go down the road to the “deer crossing sign,” they could cross there. You could tell the DJ was trying to keep his composure as this woman was dead serious.
I have a solution for Vardaman: Why doesn’t she and her organization gather up all the wolves and train them to become vegetarians? Surely since she thinks it is so easy to train cattle, it must be easy to train a pack of wolves. Better yet, let her pack up those wolves and get them out of Colorado.
By Penny Globoker, Ordway, Colo.